Leichter Schuetzenpanzerwagen (Sd.Kfz.250/1) Ausf.A

In Detail

France in the mid-1990s was still a treasure trove of parts and vehicles for those willing to rummage around in farm sheds and through collectors’ seconds.

Whilst visiting a restorer outside Rouen to discuss a Demag 1 ton Zugmaschine project we spotted a very interesting group of vehicle parts outside his workshop. Lying against a shed was an SdKfz 250 A body and chassis which had been cut in two, along with a number of other original parts. They all apparently belonged to Louis Bleriot, the grandson of the famous cross channel aviator. Contacting Mr. Bleriot proved somewhat difficult, but eventually a fax with prices arrived. We were also offered a restored Maybach HL42 engine in the deal. This engine proved to be a 251 wet sump engine not the dry sump version required for the 250. Enthusiasm overcame sense. After all we could always get a 251! We struck a deal and the SdKfz 250 A soon arrived in England .

A correct HL42 dry sump engine was eventually located in excellent condition in Austria and was shipped back to England, together with various road wheels, wheel hubs, swing arms and track. The plan was to restore the 250 together with the Demag 1 ton, which had since returned from France after completion of its external restoration.

The endless search for spare parts went on. Faxes were sent, phone calls made and various shows, especially the Abel’s Winter meeting (now the Boehler Treffen), were scoured for parts. We always began at 06:00 am; the early bird really does catch the worm.

A vacuum actuated pre-select gearbox was found in an unused condition complete with the original tag still attached from the production line. It had come from a depot discovered after the war in Norway. The vacuum alloy parts were found in the same depot. Other parts proved harder to find.

The gearbox itself gave us a vivid insight into resistance to the Nazis. Having supposedly been restored in Germany for us, the gearbox was installed into the SdKfz 250 A. During the first test run of the vehicle it promptly seized up. Upon investigation it was discovered that one of the oil ducts within the gearbox had been deliberately blocked by a steel pin. This was only visible under close examination. Wartime sabotage in the manufacturing process is often read about but rarely seen first hand, especially 60 years after the war. The anonymous factory worker had achieved his objective but not with the desired victim!

Original instrumentation, angled steering boxes, internal cupboards, the dashboard and an armoured petrol tank cover were all sourced. A real find was an original front right hand passenger seat. Although it was too far gone to be restored it provided us with an invaluable pattern to copy.

Sadly the original body proved to far gone to be restored and a copy was manufactured and fitted.

Together with the Demag 1 ton prime mover it was unveiled at the War and Peace Show in 1999.

In December 2012 this vehicle left the Collection and was exchanged for a SdKfz 223 from Roscoff in France.

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